April 15th is an all-too-familiar date for the business owners that your bank serves. For sole proprietors, C corporations, and individuals throughout the United States, April 15th (or a day adjacent to April 15th, depending on the year, as specified by the IRS) represents the ultimate “hard deadline.” Unless an extension is filed, taxpayers must submit their returns by this date.
As predictable as tax day might be, there’s something equally predictable for your bank as an institution: the necessity to collect updated tax returns.
With hundreds or thousands of commercial customers to follow up with, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to facilitate this undertaking. Some banks try using spreadsheets, such as our TicklerTrax tool. Others rely on their cores or manual ticklers. Unfortunately, these methods often fall short and create unnecessary friction with customers.
Although no perfect solution exists, leveraging an integrated document imaging and tracking system – such as AccuAccount – can drastically reduce headaches during tax season.
In this post, we’ll explore how an integrated approach will make your life easier.
Preparing for the Deluge
If your bank follows a manual collection workflow, your process probably goes something like this:
1. Someone from your loan administration team generates a list of active entities and related individuals.
2. The list is either synchronized to your tickler, exported to a spreadsheet, or (gasp) printed to hard copy format.
3. Your team then examines the list closely, looking for any commercial customers who do not meet your minimum collection thresholds. Customers with outstanding balances or total commitments below your thresholds are removed from the spreadsheet, cleared from the tickler, or crossed off the list with a pen (gasp, again).
After investing quite a few man-hours to prep the list, you’re finally ready to begin the painstaking process of following up with customers, sending out notice letters, or firing off emails. Hopefully, everyone will remember to update their records as they engage with customers!
Automate this Year’s Collection
Compare this approach to using a system like AccuAccount. AccuAccount bypasses much of the manual effort involved with creating a tax return collection plan. When April 15th rolls around, AccuAccount’s document scheduler will remember to automatically create new placeholders for appropriate entities and individuals in the system.
AccuAccount can also assign expiration dates in the future, providing a grace period to collect each customer’s updated returns. If the tax return is not collected within the grace period, an exception will begin to show up automatically.
And, what about those entities or individuals who don’t need to submit updated tax returns? No worries, as AccuAccount allows you to specify which customers should be exempted from your tax return collection process. Deactivating a customer’s document tab will ensure they are excluded from your tax return exception reports (of course, you could always re-enable that tab in the future, should things change).
Oh, and by the way, AccuAccount takes care of all your notice letters, too. Click here to read more about that.
Clear Exceptions by Scanning Tax Returns
How does your bank clear exceptions when customers submit their updated tax returns? If you’re like most banks, you go into your tracking document or tickler, search for the customer’s name, and manually remove it from the exception report.
Here’s the big problem: What if you forget to do this important step?
You’re only human, and it’s easy to make oversights when dealing with hundreds of customer files.
A better approach involves a tracking system that’s closely linked with imaging. With AccuAccount, exceptions are automatically cleared as documents get scanned into the system. With your imaging system serving as “the” location for all customer files, there’s a low likelihood you’ll forget to scan anything. In turn, exception-related oversights become a thing of the past.
Stop Stressing Over Tax Returns
Let’s be honest – this is a stressful time of year at your community bank. Streamlining your institution’s tax return management workflow could be a smart way to minimize the stress.
Interested in learning more? Click here to see our software in action.